The Taylor men’s golf team won its fifth-consecutive Crossroads League Championship last week, with a three-round total score of 903. Marian University and Spring Arbor University finished second and third, respectively, with scores of 907 and 908.
TU entered Tuesday’s final round tied with Spring Arbor and four shots ahead of Marian, knowing they would need a strong day to bring home another conference title.
Sophomore Drew Pickering fired a 71 in the final round, the best round of the day. Junior Javan Johnson followed Pickering with a 74, freshman Adam Kasitz had a 77 in the final round and sophomores Erik Fahlen and Noah Ross put up a pair of 78’s. Pickering and Johnson finished in the top-5 for individual scoring in the tournament.
“We all knew it was going to be really close,” Head Coach Cameron Andry said. “Mentally, we were prepared and knew we were going to be in a battle, from start to finish. We didn’t play great the whole time, but that’s golf, and some guys got hot in the middle of the round.”
Key shots and holes were numerous during the three-round event for the Trojans. Johnson had a chip-in eagle on the par-4 eighth hole that helped propel Taylor to a more secure lead. Andry mentioned Fahlen’s birdies mid-round as another key event, as well as Pickering’s long birdie-putt on the sixteenth hole.
Another key moment that Andry highlighted, was Ross calling a penalty stroke on himself for grounding a club – an infraction that only the player could have noticed. Andry commended Ross’s integrity for taking the penalty so late in a crucial tournament.
While Taylor men’s golf is no stranger to success, the men’s team was dealing with a roster that had never competed in a conference championship, due to their youth and the cancellation of last year’s tournament.
“There was still a little bit of a question in the back of the mind, ‘do we actually have what it takes to get the job done’, and you can’t really answer that question until you go out and do it,” Andry said. “I’m really proud of them, it’s been a journey this year and it hasn’t always been pretty, but we learned lessons along the way and they paid dividends.”
The men’s team will move onto the national tournament, which begins on May 18. The women’s team will tee-off in their Crossroads League Championship tournament today.